Practical ways to stimulate the imagination and find ideas:

Write the first thing that comes into your head when you wake in a morning.

Try writing without stopping, thinking or criticising your work. ‘Stream of consciousness writing’ can throw up some wonderful ideas.

Think about your writing as you do chores or walk the dog.

Develop a hobby which occupies your hands but not your mind.

Keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas or bits of description.

Writers are squirrels. Keep an ideas box into which you can put any newspaper or magazine clippings, articles, interesting quotes, photos, pictures or maps of places you’ve visited, titles of songs or poems that you like, drawings, etc., Anything that could later spark off an idea.

Observe people and listen in to snippets of conversation.

Jot down any random ideas you have, and little by little they will turn into a story.

The unconscious mind also works as you sleep, so have the problem in your head and by morning you may wake up with it solved. It can happen.

Remember the best ideas come when you are actually writing, so keep going.

Writers Block: If you are stuck in your short story or novel it may be because you haven’t collected enough data. Do your research, making use of different media: TV, video, film, books, music, interviews, the more sources the better. If that doesn’t work, or isn’t the problem, then give yourself more time. Writing is not a process that can be hurried. Maybe you’re stuck because you’ve been rushing it. Relax. Step back and do something else. Then you can come back to it later and look at it with a fresh eye.

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